Russian TV Network TV-3 Sells Magician Show to U.S.


MOSCOW -- The Russian network TV-3 has sold rights to its show Udivi Menya (Surprise Me) to the US company Ricky Kirschner Production.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but the Russian newspaper RBK Daily estimated it at between $1.2 million and $3.7 million, a substantial sum for the Russian TV market.

TV-3's general director Darya Fialko told RBK Daily that interest originally came from the U.S. side. "[Ricky Kirschner's] son saw our show online and showed it to his father," she said. "[Kirschner] got in touch with us, and we came to an agreement."

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She didn't disclose the final figure but said that TV-3 is to receive a lump sum plus additional payments for each executed episode.

Surprise Me, a contest of magicians judged by celebrities, was launched in April 2011. Recently, the show finished its third season. Over the three seasons, 14 episodes were aired on TV-3, a network owned by Prof Media, which was recently acquired by Gazprom Media.

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TV-3 is in ninth place among all Russian free-to-air networks in terms of the audience share. Surprise Me is the station's second most popular show.

The deal between TV-3 and Ricky Kirschner Production comes as a very rare sale of a Russian TV format to the United States. Over the last decade, the only other Russian formats sold to the U.S. were the children's cartoon series Smeshariki, which was adapted as GoGoRiki, and the youth reality show Dom-2, acquired by Sony Pictures Television and never adapted.

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